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SAFE Disposal event in Astoria NY

On Saturday September 17th the NYC Department of Sanitation held a Queens SAFE Disposal Event at the parking lot of Astoria Park.

SAFE is an acronym which stand for “Solvents, Automotive, Flammable, Electronics”.

The purpose is to collect electronic trash which is illegal to throw out through street trash removal in New York City.

I had been storing old computers for over a year, hoping an event like this would occur in the neighborhood so when I heard about the special trash day I made a plan to cart my old electronic gear over there to ditch it.

Not far from Astoria Park, I carted my old mac and monitor over in a manhattan-style shopping cart. I was surprised when I got there to find police directing traffic at Astoria Park south and 21st. St., a block away.

There was a traffic jam of cars lined up waiting to circle through and unload their electronic waste.

Astoria Traffic Jam
The traffic jam bringing electronic trash into the Astoria Park parking lot.

I rolled in to the receiving area for walk-ins and hand over my gear. After an opportunity for a photo with the trashies I walk over to see the bigger operation.

NYC Sanitation Rep
NYC Sanitation Representatives were out to answer questions.
meet the Trashies
It’s a dirty job. I got an opportunity to meet the Trashies.

Cars were circling through the parking lot which was full of garbage that was already collected. Big semi trucks were lined up to haul it away.
I spoke to representatives at the event. They said they will hold a similar event next year.

I think that the city needs to hold these events more often. There is obviously a need and a desire by people to do the right thing and dispose toxic electronic gear properly.

There are other events scheduled for other neighborhoods this year.

For more information, visit the City of New York at NYC.gov

Another resource is GrowNYC
GrowNYC is the sustainability resource for New Yorkers


NYC SAFE disposal collection area
The collection area for NYC SAFE disposal in Astoria Park parking lot.
Large electronics collected
Large electronics collected at NYC SAFE Disposal.
Trucks and trash
Trucks and trash lined up for disposal in Astoria Park.
boxes of electronic trash
Boxes and boxes of electronic gear on loading pallets.

Goodbye to Summer

Swimming at Astoria Pool ended last week and the pool has been drained. I swim in the adult swimming program. I swim with the Early Birds in the morning and the Night Owls in the evening. This year I earned a 25-mile t-shirt in each but I did not win a trophy.

Last year I won third place at the Night Owls. The trophies were beautiful this year so I regret not winning one.

I never won any trophies growing up and when I first won a trophy many years ago I thought it was rather silly to get one in mid-life.

I’ve learned to compete and care about winning the trophies. Another man almost beat me a couple of years ago and I put on the steam to win. Winning matters to me now.

Early Bird Party at Astoria Pool, 2013
Early Birds with new 25-mile shirts celebrating at Astoria Pool, 2013

The New York City Pool Program has an awards ceremony at the end of the season to give out the t-shirts and trophies. It is a slightly cheesy affair at Hamilton Fish Pool in Manhattan, always with food catered by Katz, a relay race, a synchronized swimming performance and a musician. We love it because we get to be together and share the moment.

The swimmers who come every year to Astoria Pool get to know one another. We don’t talk much during the season. It’s hard to talk when swimming. So the Awards Ceremony is a great occasion to congratulate each other.

Astoria Pool is the largest pool in New York. Constructed in the 1930’s It is outside, in the park and just a fabulous ruin.

The swimmers from Astoria always comprise the largest contingent at the Awards Ceremony. This year I counted 45 names listed in the program bill winning 25-mile shirts from Astoria. Five people such as myself swim in both morning and evening programs. Yay Astoria!

We’re the biggest group of swimmers by far. They should have the awards party at our pool.

We have a potluck party at Astoria Pool to thank the staff and schmooze one last time. This year I made egg burritos for the Early Birds, and spicy chicken strips for the Night Owls. Other people brought candies, cakes, cookies, coffee. Most of the food is hand-made by the swimmers.

After it is over I’m sad to see the summer go, but glad as well to move on to other things. Work, learning and new things to do.

Next summer will come and so will we. Old friends and new, the Swimming Birds at Astoria Pool.

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